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Securing Your Personal Data

Published on 19 March 15
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We live in an age where all kinds of information, no matter how obscure or esoteric, is right at our finger tips, easily accessible if you know where to look and what to ask for. Unfortunately, by the same token, all of our own private information, no matter how personal or well-hidden, is right at the fingertips of hackers and thieves, who can easily access it because they know where to look and what to ask for. It's sort of a double-edged sword arrangement, you see.

While there is no such thing as an absolutely fool-proof set of security measures, here are two places where you can better secure your personal data and lessen the chances of a breach. Read on, be enlightened, and then go forth and be secure.
Securing Your Personal Data - Image 1
Mint has a comprehensive infographic on keeping your personal data safe. Here are a few things to consider.

Mobile Data Protection
According to the above infographic, over 75% of data breaches occur by a malicious outside or accidental loss. So in other words, either crooks are breaking into people's systems, or people tend to leave their devices unattended, if not outright losing them. Since an increasing number of users are now doing their computing via mobile devices (and consequently the criminals are following them!), it's wise to practice mobile safety.

Most of this boils down to passwords. Whether it's the password to lock up your device, protect your home page login, or prevent unauthorized users from accessing your financial information, you need a set of good passwords, ones that are tough to guess, and give each of your user name logins a unique one; none of this "one password fits all" nonsense.

So, for instance, if you forget your tablet or smart phone at your favorite coffee shop, the device won't do a casual identity thief any good. Incidentally, it's also good practice to have the GPS function active on your mobile device. That way, if it gets lost or stolen, there's at least a chance of finding it.

For another measure, and this one is ridiculously easy, be aware of the people around you. Is anyone peeking at what you're doing? Furthermore, if you can choose between using your bank card as a credit or a debit card for making a purchase, go with the former; the latter requires you to type a PIN, and again, who knows who's watching you?

Network Security
Whether it's accessing a wireless network at home or a public Wi-Fi hotspot at your favorite hangout, you need to exercise caution. "Wireless" means "unsecure", when compared to conventional land line, wired access.

When it comes to your home network, make sure to follow these steps to restrict access by outsiders. In addition to setting up a good password (in other words, get rid of the default one!), make sure that WPA/WEP encryption is on, disable SSID broadcast, and make sure your firewalls are enabled for the router and each device that routinely accesses the network. You also may want to make sure that your laptop doesn't auto-connect to open Wi-Fi networks.

Speaking of public Wi-Fi, if your mobile device is accessing such a network, refrain from conducting any sensitive business while you're online. Either use your smart phone with a connection provided by your carrier, or wait until you get home. Never access your bank account or credit cards while on a public Wi-Fi network!

Get The Best Of Both Worlds
By employing the above common sense security measures, anyone can enjoy the convenience of mobile computing while keeping themselves safer from hackers and data thieves. If you're interested in more information about data security, check out "Your Computer Got A Virus From Your Phone".





















We live in an age where all kinds of information, no matter how obscure or esoteric, is right at our finger tips, easily accessible if you know where to look and what to ask for. Unfortunately, by the same token, all of our own private information, no matter how personal or well-hidden, is right at the fingertips of hackers and thieves, who can easily access it because they know where to look and what to ask for. It's sort of a double-edged sword arrangement, you see.

While there is no such thing as an absolutely fool-proof set of security measures, here are two places where you can better secure your personal data and lessen the chances of a breach. Read on, be enlightened, and then go forth and be secure.

Securing Your Personal Data - Image 1

Mint has a comprehensive infographic on keeping your personal data safe. Here are a few things to consider.

Mobile Data Protection
According to the above infographic, over 75% of data breaches occur by a malicious outside or accidental loss. So in other words, either crooks are breaking into people's systems, or people tend to leave their devices unattended, if not outright losing them. Since an increasing number of users are now doing their computing via mobile devices (and consequently the criminals are following them!), it's wise to practice mobile safety.

Most of this boils down to passwords. Whether it's the password to lock up your device, protect your home page login, or prevent unauthorized users from accessing your financial information, you need a set of good passwords, ones that are tough to guess, and give each of your user name logins a unique one; none of this "one password fits all" nonsense.

So, for instance, if you forget your tablet or smart phone at your favorite coffee shop, the device won't do a casual identity thief any good. Incidentally, it's also good practice to have the GPS function active on your mobile device. That way, if it gets lost or stolen, there's at least a chance of finding it.

For another measure, and this one is ridiculously easy, be aware of the people around you. Is anyone peeking at what you're doing? Furthermore, if you can choose between using your bank card as a credit or a debit card for making a purchase, go with the former; the latter requires you to type a PIN, and again, who knows who's watching you?

Network Security
Whether it's accessing a wireless network at home or a public Wi-Fi hotspot at your favorite hangout, you need to exercise caution. "Wireless" means "unsecure", when compared to conventional land line, wired access.

When it comes to your home network, make sure to follow these steps to restrict access by outsiders. In addition to setting up a good password (in other words, get rid of the default one!), make sure that WPA/WEP encryption is on, disable SSID broadcast, and make sure your firewalls are enabled for the router and each device that routinely accesses the network. You also may want to make sure that your laptop doesn't auto-connect to open Wi-Fi networks.

Speaking of public Wi-Fi, if your mobile device is accessing such a network, refrain from conducting any sensitive business while you're online. Either use your smart phone with a connection provided by your carrier, or wait until you get home. Never access your bank account or credit cards while on a public Wi-Fi network!

Get The Best Of Both Worlds
By employing the above common sense security measures, anyone can enjoy the convenience of mobile computing while keeping themselves safer from hackers and data thieves. If you're interested in more information about data security, check out "Your Computer Got A Virus From Your Phone".

This blog is listed under Data & Information Management and IT Security & Architecture Community

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  1. 20 March 15
    0

    Gah! I have to remind myself not to connect to public WIFI whenever i need to do online banking! Any recommendations for a mobile gps tracking apps/device?

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